Monday, October 29, 2007

Klimt exhibition at the Neue Galerie -NY

My "Informal Guide"
Finally visited the exhibition, these are the main Klimt works that can be seen there, in the central room of the exhibition (second floor, second room) along with some of my notes:
*The park of Schloss Kammer
*Forester house in Weissenbach on the Attersee (1914)- Klimt at his most Van Gogh-ish moment. Beautiful
*The tall poplar tree (1900) - (look at this one for a while: the strange composition, the depth he achieves, the light in the painting so determined by a tiny piece of sky, the color of the grass, beautiful)
*Pale face (1903)
*The dancer (1916-18) -personally I have never liked this one at all
*Adele Bloch- Bauer (1907) (it's funny to see how "sloppy" Klimt was at times, some of the eyes in the dress are almost smudged and unfinished, but he gets away with it; hands in such an awkward position as in so many others of his paintings (a few theories about it), and it's interesting to see how the armchair she sits in is suggested, few or none could do that).
*The black feather hat (1910)
*Hope II (1907-08) (I don't remember if this last one was in the same room)
All these works were exhibited in frames with glass.
Again, none of them were in my Klimt all time favourites list (and the number of major works is scarce) but the first three alone were worth the trip to New York. (Those to me were the best in this exhibition, together with some charcoals).
First room of the exhibition displays a number of photographs (some of them really beautiful), some jewelry and documents that are curious to see.
Then the third room shows many charcoals, black chalk, and pencil studies for different works. It's clear that before starting to paint in a more personal way he achieved almost perfection at academic painting. Note in this room: lighting was very poor (I don't know if it was intentional to preserve the works).
Then up the stairs we go and there there can be seen more charcoals (again, poor lighting) (a big percentage of these charcoals have a very "sexually explicit" content), photographs, a huge painting smock of the type he liked to wear whenever he was able to (curious to see it), and the re-created interior of the receiving room from one of Klimt’s studios. That was curious but nothing more, it's unpretentious and functional, could have been his or somebody else's. There is also a recreation of the "Beethoven Frieze" in another room, not very moving.
The museum is beautiful, the wood floors and paneling giving it a very warm beginning of XX century look, but it is small so avoid crowds. There's nowhere to seat (except in one room in the third floor) and some rooms are cold and others are hot. Drink are not allowed inside so if you are carrying a water bottle you'll have to leave it outside. A considerable portion of visitors were pretty "stiff" (the exhibition seems to appeal to them because of some of its characteristics), the type that thinks that the world revolves around them and manners are relative, so don't expect them to cooperate much during the visit (they'll stay in the middle,...), avoid them!!.
I visited it last Thursday at about 2 PM and it was pretty crowded so it might be better to wait some time to visit (it opened very recently).
PS I felt too "overconfident" or something calling Klimt sloppy at times, I feel better after finding this article on the New York sun , using the exact same word. Nice article (cough cough).

Friday, October 26, 2007

Weird day

Yesterday was officially one of the weirdest if not the weirdest day of my life. It involved a day out in NY, hesitating, art exhibitions, Hillary and Bill Clinton sightings (more strange than impressive, brushing shoulders -or better "brushing tips or the shoes"- with their entourage was definitely an experience), along with Elvis Costello and the Wallflowers, tv crews, a Rolling Stones photographer, coffee with Stuart (Wallflowers, that was cool) , and listening to a part of the Beacon Theater concert, in the street, through the back iron door (happened to pass by, couldn't resist) next to a homeless woman who danced to the rythm. Just so radically different from my everyday life. Learned a lot.
And now for my idiotic usual line. JD, Birdcage-ing?, saw him literally fleeing the Theatre (the photographer taking pictures didn't help matters). Such a contrast with less than a week ago. It was a very haunting scene for me, don't know why, most powerful.
Wondered what was he doing there anyway, he just covered "Gimme some truth"? ... I don't know if it hit him there and then or if I'm just imagining things. (*** see PS at the bottom, I was imagining things).
Anyway, aaaaaaaaaaaaagggg today's going to stink.
And by the way, for everyone's sake, if Hillary is going to be the next president, I hope that yesterday she was just having a bad day.
PS I didn't bring a camera (wanted an "easy" day), so no pics, then you always regret it, but not really.
And good news for last: Jakob Dylan's solo album: almost finished (a few things left, incredible that I have news, who'd have said)

**...and yes I was imagining things, JD's profile pic as of today (29th nov 07) is Bill Clinton and a semi-hidden him behind. None of my business but I wonder, isn't Jakob Dylan a musician first? Really confusing that he "hands over" his place, retreats and fades into the background for political purposes in THIS context. I really admire his music and I find him one of the smartest guys around so this doesn't quite fit. What’s the purpose of lending his image as in a perfume ad? (can’t find any explanations/reasons of why he’s supporting Hillary). He may get some of the right votes but for the wrong reasons…(and by the way I don't know which are the right votes, not what this is about)
PS 2 , Jan 07: By the way, I haven't seen those photos anywhere. The photographer (A. M.), went to his black limo when he rushed inside it and asked for him to roll down the window so he could take more pictures. JD didn't, and he came back and told me that that wasn't very nice of him. I said that wasn't surprising, after the way they/press usually handle news about him. And I added that he's usually a really nice person (well, I had only seen him once before that day, I shouldn't act like I know him, but). A.M. agreed with a nod, he knew (just doing his job, not a bad guy). It's a tough world for everyone.
PS 3 I've re-read this post and it sounds sort of silly and sort of pretentious so I'll explain myself a little further.
There was sort of stuff going on at the time, so in the end I decided to take the day off (at the very end, when it was already too ridiculously late to do the trip from NJ, only then I realized I really had to go) and wander around the city rather than .... Once there apart from the Klimt art exhibition I had been planning on visiting for some time I didn't have any other plan so, for once in my life, I sort of went with the flow.What I like most when I go to NYC is Central Park and then just looking at the people, walking by the streets, so I walked around Central park and then since I knew there was this Hillary Clinton / Wallflowers concert / bash I decided to take a look, it was nearby, and it might be curious to see all the fuss. And once there I meant to stay for some minutes but, letting myself "go with the flow" as I said, because I had nothing specific to do, I ended up being there until late at night and things kept happening, and I kept meeting the most different people, and, I have to say, all of them really nice - doesn't usually happen either!. Overall it was really special. Hope this explains it a bit better.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Wallflowers concert review, The Keswick Theatre

The Wallflowers Philly

Part 1: The concert
I'd never been to a Wallflowers concert before, so I didn't know what to expect. The setting turned out to be a low key staging, lack of colour even in their clothes (very black and white-ish), dim light. That simplicity did work for their music much more than anything else might have. There was nothing to distract the audience from Jakob Dylan's voice, Stuart Mathis and Greg Richling's guitars and Fred Eltringham's drums. They did not wander around the stage or switch positions, and Dylan's face remained restrained in expression (not inexpressive) through it all. Your only focus was the music. That is a pretty brave thing to do, and it shows how much they believe in and trust their songs (another brave thing to do: not including their biggest hit "One Headlight", a statement that this group doesn't live off past hit songs). These are even more brave if you consider that this is their first tour in years and that there's been major changes in their line-up...But it turned out great. The songs sounded amazing and though the keyboardist was missing, for someone "new" to their sound like me they didn't feel flawed or unbalanced. Still there was the occasional tiny detail that might lead on that they had not toured for some time and when that'd happen (to deal with those killer lyrics!) they didn't try to cover it up but just rolled on.
Now and then they would take some time to tune their guitars in between songs and J.D. would talk to the public a bit, he didn't say much but he said enough, he won us over with his dry and witty sense of humour and his mater of facted attitude - I don't think he's ever had a problem in that department. There were the occasional technical issues (a few songs into the show Dylan stopped dead in the middle of a song to let us know he was getting shocks from his microphone and it was OK with him but he wanted to let us know in case he'd explode before finishing his set list...had us all laughing but a little worried as he never let us know it had been fixed, what did I say about his humour...). He also thanked the audience for being there despite their not having any new album out and said something about fans not forgetting about them. He remarked that he was enjoying this Philly concert more than the one they played some years ago, and he avoided making any reference to his new solo album in the making.
Some of the songs sound much better live than in the record ("Everything I need", absolutely)
All the performers were tops, super, but this band's core is JD's voice above all (his sheet music and the lyrics coming right after that). Not only is it so personal, but what he manages with it, its shades... it probably won't have been any easy for him to control a voice like that but now it's just breathtaking at points.
Part 2: meet and greet 1 - Jakob Dylan solo album
Jakob Dylan and Stuart Mathis A while after the show they showed up for the meet and greet, they didn’t really keep people waiting long. JD seemed a quite different person offstage, not even pale anymore! (must've been the lighting onstage). The atmosphere was great, not the usual “worshiper fans” versus “condescending artists” but rather like everybody had been introduced by mutual acquaintances and had stuff to talk about (mainly due to them, they may have fooled me but it really felt like they did enjoy talking to the people there - or at least they were curious- there had to be the usual people that’d get on their nerves among us but also others that really understand and feel their music, and it had been a while-), no barriers in sight. And everybody was ignoring the thin rain that took its time to stop. Stuart was receiving congratulations for his guitar playing, he seemed quite happy with how it went, said he would love to tour in Europe eventually (had already been there with Jewel) when I asked him, Greg was talking about the advantages of being in a band like theirs, the flexibility to change set lists from one day to the next if they felt like it, and also how nice it is to play at a venue like the Keswick where they could actually hear themselves, I was so enjoying his conversation -I never have a chance to talk about these things- I was so bummed they had to leave. I didn't get to see Fred. And Jakob was asked about the record he's finishing, said it was just him and a friend, acoustic (I hope I'm not misquoting this part but maybe I am, that's what I seem to remember, but at that point I was quite tired, long day, and quite clueless, I figured everybody knew about it, I'm explaining it later on. By the way, it's almost finished, I was told some days later).-*Acoustic part finally confirmed by Rebel Dreamer in the group's message board on the 11th Feb!- Somebody told him he’d changed some lines in a song ("How far you've come", I think) and he said he had not realized, that those were the original lines he wrote that now he regretted he had changed, he liked the initial ones better so they’d just pop up. I asked him if he was looking for innovation on the new record, like other groups that are recording albums for next year (Coldplay, Keane,... they are making an issue of it: "I can guarantee that we'll continue to do new and different things rather than treading water, as we say"- Tim Rice Oxley-Keane; The new work will be "very original and very different from what they’ve done before"- Bryan Eno (one of the producers of Coldplay) and that is just an example, they are saying it over and over), I asked if he was also in search of "new" and “different” (well, sort of, I wish I had been that articulate but I got "a bit" stuck, my English brain cells give me these surprises...JD waited patiently for me to finish my question) and he answered" No, I really don't think about that at all". Period. Of all the questions I could have asked him this one is sort of silly, I know, but he was just saying “new” and my mind snapped with this issue, I had been bothered with this need to force oneself into that type of impositions that’s driving composers lately. To me it shouldn’t have to face that kind of limitations, so I was happy to hear J D say that, he's in "my team" on that one.
Nevertheless now that I've heard much more of their music, it's obvious he doesn't need to think about it either, he's diverse as the universe (or sort of, cursi sentence of mine).
3 Downside:
the wallflowers tour busThe downside of the show for me was the public’s sort of “passiveness”. Some of the songs were very weird to hear sitting down in your chair. JD said at one point that having the audience sitting used to make him “go nuts” before but that he even kind of liked it now. Nobody reacted to that, they remained seated until the encore, when everyone stood up to clap and after which half of us remained standing. I’m pretty shy and far from being the dancing type, specially when in the first rows, but I had just felt so uncomfortable sitting down while they were playing some of those songs like they were. Not used to it. And I don't think I was the only one, but how do you manage to make people stand up? (I told JD about that too at the meet and greet but he brushed it off saying that they do both, standing and seating, as if it were actually totally fine with him, but I don’t know, he had a really hard face to read at times. Be it that or something else, I had the feeling he had been somehow uneasy about something onstage that night. Ok, I'm going to say something really silly but it sort of makes sense to me: he has an overall attitude that somehow sways between that of a defeated person and that of a toughened winner. Still I don't know him so I don't really know what I'm talking about). Anyway, I know each person feels it and expresses it differently, but hell, they should have been up and active.
Between my questions, my record signing and my umbrella (I'll explain later) I don't think JD will come anywhere near me in the future (joking, he won't remember me by now!!!-hopefully!!!!!!) -Naaa, these people I admire so because of what they do, bet we all would like them to think that we're special too. Obviously, even if we were, it's just not possible. Nobody's fault.
The Wallflowers at the Keswick Teatre, Philadelphia, 10/19/2007
Part 4, misc. (you can easily skip this part,really, most of it is my musings):
* Meet and greet part 2: there was the usual photo taking but I think I was one of the few who actually asked them to sign anything -sorry for that, but for once I was prepared, I had been carrying the “Breech” booklet around the whole night and I couldn’t resist, but I should have-. Specially because being the klutz that I am I unawares brought a broken pen, one of those with a resort inside, and when Stuart (first to sign) started to write it just popped open, the upper part ejecting itself high before falling to the floor. So I kneeled to get it, at which point (it was raining) the umbrella I was carrying in my hand descended too (I keep forgetting these things) and hit Jakob (hopefully not hard), who was just behind me (I had no idea anyone was there), in the head (heard these people saying careful, JD seemed to have already forgotten when I turned around, uff, he's really tops ). Honestly, I was sort of embarrassed but at the same time it so seemed like out of a bad comedy’s script, I couldn’t help laughing. I was thankful when Stuart told me he had a pen in his pocket and I was able to put the evil creature back in my bag (second part of the adventures of the evil pen: it behaved with Greg but not with Jakob, his signature is half written, half engraved – no ink!!!!)
*Why does JD downplay his looks like that?. Either his worst enemy dressed him for the stage or he saw to it himself (& Greg too, looked 20 years older in that suit). Way better at the meet and greet
**When reading stuff about them on the internet I came across cliches nr 1 and 2 time and again. Nr 1 I refuse to mention. Nr 2, “they haven’t achieved success”. I don’t agree. Do they mean they haven’t sold over a certain amount of records? They’ve certainly sold more than a few. Music stores have their records, people are familiar with them and appreciative. So what are they talking about?. The day before the concert when I went to the record store, a twenty-ish years old employee came to my help. I told him I was looking for the record where a song was, I didn’t even give him the right name (said “sleepwalking”, that was more my state!). He knew the Wallflowers, he knew right away in which of their records it was and he handed it to me saying they are a cool band. I was surprised by that. A few days ago, when I was outside the Beacon listening to a few of the concert’s songs through the back door (that I didn't plan but I was around and I just heard it when I was leaving and stayed a while), some people passing by would stop and ask who was playing. Most of them knew the Wallflowers and liked them. Number of records sold is not my idea of being successful, I’m sure it’s not theirs either. And of course that if you keep doing that music for that long you should expect a much higher status but since when is this about getting what you deserve?. Surely if some of those songs had gotten better marketing the Wallflowers would be many notches up in hit lists but frankly, I don't think they would be doing better music than they're doing right now (if anything, probably worse), so -in maybe a selfish way- I say they’re in a very good place.
--Anyway, JD must have thick skin, he knew what was coming when he decided to be a musician, and he’s handled it really well (being damn smart, "cool" and likeable, that helps...surely he has a dark side too, so much the darker since it's so hidden you can't even point at it).--
But cliches are a common problem, there’s few bands out there that don’t have one stamped on them over an over again, and though some enjoy theirs, most hate it. Thankfully in this case that type of criticism doesn’t seem to affect their music anymore (unlike other bands that are really getting caught up in it while kidding themselves they're not affected).
* Songs sounds great but why does he mess up every now and then?. Music and phrasing are always superb but lyrics, sometimes he’s another brilliant sloppy one. Like in Sleepwalker, that line about Sam Cooke and then the clapping, really dispensable (to me). Many songs mix the most impressive sentences with “funky” lines that shouldn’t be there (and I don't mean when he throws all these words together as paint to get a colour). And he abuses certain words, keeps bringing them up over and over. Like he knows but he doesn’t care. Like little acts of despotism.
*I probably was the only one there that had not heard most of their songs before that night. I had obviously heard “One Headlight” back then, and a few more over the last 2 days. There was something there that I liked, though (but I also had the impression that their music was maybe too "rough and tough" for me, not the case) so when I found out they were playing in PA don't know why I thought about going, headed to youtube to hear more songs, then went to the mall and bought “Breech” (decision based on “Sleepwalker”, which is one of the songs that stick faster but not the best by far) and then did some ticket searching as I liked what I was hearing. But tickets were not really good, it was almost sold out and the concert was 1 day away. I sort of need some kind of push to take the concert decision, my lifestyle right now doesn’t make it easy to go, so I was almost about to let go when I decided to call the Keswick Theater directly and ask if maybe later better tickets would be released. They said maybe and then they offered me this amazing seat – I still don’t understand how- so I couldn’t say no, that was the push. Then since I had to go to the public library anyway I checked out “Rebel, sweetheart” and was in for a Wallflowers 24 h. immersion. If you know the songs you enjoy it so much more, but there was hardly time left for that.
* Pit section should just NOT be sold to anybody.A certain person in the first row comes to mind. He acted like he was at home watching a football match, as he divided his time between chatting to his girlfriend, choosing between his various colored drinks in the paper cups collection under his seat, wandering off the place and back (you know the consequences of pouring so much liquid inside), then plain trying to reach for something in his girlfriend esophagus with his tongue. All of this while J D was singing right in front of him pouring his soul out. Unfortunately this guy was very near to where I was sitting, quite big, wearing yellow and right in the middle my field of vision. Thankfully, eventually I managed to block him out. Humans.... And talk about metaphors, JD!. Anyway, JD should have made him climb up to the stage and sing choruses on the stinging mic for a while.
So this concert turned out to be quite an adventure. I keep listening to the Wallflowers and I keep being stunned by their music. And I'm still puzzled, 'cos there goes a VERY intriguing individual...
Four links I recommend:
* This interview (all parts).
* Stuff
* This article on Rebel, Sweetheart (this I read after writing the above)
* This article too
* People discussion their lyrics here, some comments are amazing, some totally hilarious.
In homage to their taste for hidden tracks and the sort I've not listed a posterior post with one more short experience with them in NY (sort of unimportant for others though), and a little something more in another post.
Wish I'd written the best post ever for this one. They deserve it.
Labels for this post: the wallflowers concert review, the wallflowers live 2007, the wallflowers philadelphia, red letter days

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The WF "reminder setlist" - The Keswick

sort of setlist The wallflowers Yesterday night I went to The WF's concert at The Keswick. Amazing music, amazing musicians. I took the usual sheet they stick to the floor, instead of a "set list" it's basically some lines of four of the songs they played, sort of a a reminder (a curiosity, I took a pic to share it). The actual list of songs they played was posted by "angelonbike" on their website this morning -boy, we're quick!!.
Wish I could see them tonight at the Borgata but it's time to go back to reality. I'm definitely writing more about it (concert and meet and greet), but right now I'm
way too
The Wallflowerssleepy!!!!
Update 10/21: to read my review click here

Friday, October 19, 2007


Tonight I'm going to a concert and the skies know it, I know it doesn't make sense but they do. It's my third concert since I arrived in the US and in all three of them guess what: T-storms!!, and not any t-storm (the Tower flooded -beware Smashing Pumkins concert-goers, wear your wellingtons because your feet may get wet, happened to me, though they may have fixed it; at the Mann, which is only partially covered, these thunder noises that got to be a bit too scary), and today this, again!!! And it's not like it rains that bad all the time, over the weekend we'll have sunny skies luck.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Keane The night sky review

Well, just like Lesley Gore sang “it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to”, I’m going to say it’s my blog and I’ll review if I want to, if only a little (not that anyone's told me not but...). I just can’t resist. So, about Keane's The night sky, I'll keep it short, just a few silly notes: bad things first: what on earth is going on in the record’s cover? That semi-purpled spaghetti bolognese thing gone wallpaper… not good. Then: 1.Hugues, good, those first bomb-like sounding drums in the song bring an amazing atmosphere to it. 2. Rice-Oxley, those oohs at the end of the song, I bet that’s him, coool (if it's not, I'm not reviewing a thing in a month, deal!).; and the last seconds, The Frog prince touch, nice signature (by the way, those oohs sound a bit America- Johnny Borrell-ish, so it's funny with the frog prince touch thing) 3. Chaplin, doesn't fail, that disquieting, seemingly transparent tone…
And 4. I really like this song, it might be minor considering some of the stuff Keane have released before but it has a beautiful unpretentious simplicity about it and it scores great moments like "to stand at the bus stop...". It may be about war, to me it's about everybody's everyday's war to find peace of mind. And from a child's point of view...not necessarily; they just focus on a very particular aspect of war/life: its noises, its silences... R.-O.'s big, Chaplin just nails it.
One more thing, the commercial strategy, can’t see the point of not letting people buy the record until so much later, will see how that works but it doesn’t make much sense to me.
And not looking forward to the video, won´t probably watch it. C. Hardy already spoiled Bedshaped a bit by making such a raw, gaunt, grim piece (and with these adjectives I don't know if I'm saying the exact shades I want because it's in this type of descriptions where my English fails me the most, but I think you get the idea of what I mean). I don't want the same to happen to this one. That kind of video with such a strong visual impact sticks to the song in one's mind (at least in mine) so they should be cautious because it actually damages the song. And by that I don´t mean that all music videos should be pink cotton candy.
PS 24 oct 07: ok, video already on youtube, sort of what I expected (not so grim but maybe I didn't give it time) so after a minute or so I turned it off. What are you gonna do....something in black and white, very static, nocturnal, big ample settings but revolving around little tiny details might have been nice but whatever. Music's enough.
Back to Keane stuff

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Everybody is in the black mood today

That's what the lady in the fitting room said to me this morning (I was already aware that all the tops over my arm were pretty dark, well, as black as it gets actually). She said that was her mood yesterday but not today, she seemed disappointed, like we were all going to drag her back into it, all of us silly dark clothes try on-ers. Before, while browsing through the hangers, this song I had never heard before started playing, it didn't help matters. It's called "Other side of the world", by KT Turnstall (first song I really like from her, found the black horse one annoying, at first I thought it was Katie Melua), it's really moving, I memorized a few words an googled it, then found it on youtube . It really captures this thing so many people go through, one of the hardest things. Anyway, one could make a sandwich with that and Maria Taylor's "A good start".
Not that I should be unhappy about anything.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Hi, I haven't written in some time but hopefully I will go back to posting stuff one of these days. I was tempted to write about Keane's last week releases, but I didn't get any comment or anything on the sui generis post I wrote on their third album (though it attracted traffic), so it was a bit disappointing (hmm), or boring, or both. I had fun writing it, though. So, anyway, no more reviewing or pre-reviewing or "whatever-ing" in the near future, not even writing the title of those releases to prevent more google search results.
I have an idea or two, one of these days I'll go at it but autumn makes me a bit passive, sort of a stop and think attitude. Leaves falling and stuff... So I've just finished watching the whole Grey's anatomy third season in a week (had to catch up with the fourth on tv these days)...